Ginger & Pepper Crusted Salmon with cauliflower, beets and celery root puree was one of the lunch entrees available on a 3-course Restaurant Week menu for $29 at Tavern 62, a David Burke restaurant on the tony East Side of Manhattan.
I started with a bowl of briny Seafood Chowder (shrimp, clams, leeks and potatoes), one of six appetizers on the price-fixed menu.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
I worked up an appetite taking mass transit to the East Side of Manhattan for a bargain $29 lunch at Tavern 62 on Monday.
I hopped on an express bus from northern New Jersey to the midtown-Manhattan terminal, then hiked through a long pedestrian tunnel and up several flights of stairs to the Q train.
My stop, Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, is a relatively new subway station with a police booth on the platform, and elevators and an escalator to bring you up to street level.
Hundreds of fine-dining restaurants in Manhattan are offering three-course lunches for $29 and three-course dinners for $42 -- plus tax and tip -- through Friday.
To get a $5 statement credit on a total bill of more than $35, I charged my meal to a pre-registered American Express card.
You can find price-fixed lunches at many Manhattan restaurants, including Tavern 62, after Restaurant Week ends.
The semi-annual promotion returns in July.
I asked my waiter to hold the whipped cream when I ordered Fresh Berries with Passion Fruit Sorbet for dessert.
|An unsweetened iced tea was $4 with a refill.|
I was seated in what turned out to be the quieter of two dining rooms on the second floor of the restaurant, and walked past Chef/Owner David Burke holding a meeting in an anteroom.
I was disappointed that instead of bread and extra-virgin olive oil, the restaurant serves small muffins and butter, which is presented on a small block of Himalayan Pink Salt (I buy the same salt in a grinder at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro).
As I was leaving the restaurant, I saw Chef Burke wielding a blow torch over a plate, possibly a dessert. The New Jersey native, who is said to own more than a dozen restaurants, will be 55 on Feb. 27.
|DETAILS: Tavern 62 by David Burke is at 135 E. 62nd St., near Lexington Avenue, Manhattan; 1-212-988-9021. Websites: Tavern 62 and NYC Restaurant Week.|
|I loved the poem by Billy Collins I saw on the Q train: "As you fly swiftly underground ... remember the ones who descended here ... to clear a passage for you where there was only darkness and stone."|
At Casual Habana Cafe, I ordered the Paella Caribena ($17), which was served in a covered pot, but my wife was disappointed to find only two shrimp, and left all of the mussels, clams and squid to me, below.
|We loved the long-grain saffron rice.|
Two side dishes come with each entree, so we ordered Platanos Maduros or sweet plantains, and Tostones, twice-smashed and fried green plantains, which are sprinkled with a little salt and served with a dipping sauce.
DETAILS: Casual Habana Cafe, at 125 Main St. in Hackensack, is a BYO; 1-201-880-9844. Open 7 days, metered street parking and a small lot in back, enter through unmarked double doors painted orange.
|WEBSITE: Casual Habana Cafe.|
|MORE ON PALADARES: San Cristobal, a home restaurant in Havana, from a 2012 post on Guardian.com, "Top 10 Paladares in Cuba."|